Live at The Isle of Wight Festival 1970
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August, 1970: With Jim Morrison's ongoing Miami obscenity trial casting an ominous shadow over the band, The Doors flew to England to play the Isle of Wight Festival. Waiting for them at "The Last Great Festival" were over 600,000 fans who had already torn down the barriers, crashed the gates, and enjoyed performances by the world's top acts such as Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Miles Davis and Joni Mitchell. The Doors took the stage at 2 am, playing with the weight of the trial on their backs, and showed fans they still had the magic that had propelled them to the top during the Summer of Love. "We played with a controlled fury and Jim was in fine vocal form," said Doors organist Ray Manzarek. "He sang for all he was worth, but moved nary a muscle. Dionysus had been shackled." Less than a year later, The Doors were no more. Here, for the very first time, is the last Doors concert ever filmed. The Doors: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970.
DVD & CD Track Listing
1. Roadhouse Blues
2. Backdoor Man
3. Break on Through (To The Other Side)
4. When The Music's Over
5. Ship of Fools
6. Light My Fire
7. The End (medley): Across The Sea/Away in India/Crossroads Blues/Wake Up
1) "This is the End" featurette - 17 minutes of interviews conducted by original director Murray Lerner with Bill Siddons (original Doors manager), Robby Krieger, John Densmore and archival interview from 2002 with Ray Manzarek.
Top customer reviews
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As a DVD it is simply part of the process for those who must have everything. The film pales in comparison to the Hollywood Bowl, Europe and the videos. In Isle of Wight DVD releases, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Jethro Tull were captured clearly better. The film does slightly exceed Emerson, Lake and Palmer in "actual" live presentation. It is still prettly cool to watch The Doors perform before 600,000 fans.
It wasn't until a few years after the meeting with Robbie Krieger that I got a hold of a Doors bootleg called Palace of Exile. This CD contained the complete Isle of Wight show in soundboard quality (with some splices in The End). I was intrigued that I was finally able to hear what I had only read about. My first impression of the show was that the sound quality was awesome. The music was good too as explained below. Palace of Exile was a nice addition to my Doors music library, but like any other fan, I wanted a legitimately released recording. I knew that the entire Isle of Wight Festival was professionally recorded and filmed, so I figured I'd get to see it all eventually.
When the recent news broke that THE DOORS LIVE AT THE ISLE OF WIGHT was coming out on CD/DVD/Bluray, I was delighted. I was surprised that "Roadhouse Blues" was placed at the beginning of the CD, even though it was actually after "Ship of Fools." I wish they kept the correct sequence of songs in order to present the historic set as it went down. Additionally, the producers decided to keep in that loud motorcycle noise at the beginning of the song. Despite those unnecessary audio anomalies, most everything else sounded good. "Back Door Man" was a solid set opener, "Break on Through" spirited even if it was played countless times before. "When The Music's Over" was magnificent (and my favorite song of the set).
Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore's instrumental chops are amazing throughout the set. Yes Morrison may have sounded slightly weary, (and the setlist was a bit standard). But the other three musicians performed with an impressive mix of gusto and expertise. The show's flaws hardly seem to matter. There is plenty of jamming on "Ship of Fools" and "Light My Fire," which proves that The Doors knew how to stretch out a bit. 1970 was a time when stretching out was the norm for bands. "The End" was a perfect set closer. It contained a few lines from 'Celebration of the Lizard,' with Jim shouting! Obviously he wasn't completely asleep on stage! Unfortunately the Doors did not come back for an encore as the band cleared the stage for The Who.
Overall, this was a historic show for the Doors. It wasn't a perfect set, but intriguing and fascinating in its own way. Robbie Krieger and the critics may still have their reservations, but I approve, and give it four stars.
But I needed have been, as their show is absolutely mesmerizing, with all the negative atmosphere surrounding the festival giving The Doors an extra bit of fuel for fire.
Morrision’s own performance is quite subdued (it may be in part due to the fact that he had a possible conviction for public exposure hanging over his head), but it means that he focuses on singing the songs, instead of any over the top antics on the stage.
Some great-extended versions of “Ship of fools”, “Light my Fire” & “The End” with the all band playing on top form.
The sound & picture quality is good (although the CD is a little quite) & there’s a nice mini documentary extra.
So hopefully with the release of “The Doors Live at the Isle of White”, there will be some re-evaluation of the importance of the bands performance at the festival, & an excellent addition to The Doors live back-catalogue.